Boozy Vegan Vodka Sauce

One of my favorite things in the entire world is any kind of pasta with vodka sauce, and considering it’s mostly cream and panchetta, I’ve had to suffer without it for quite a long time. So here is a simple recipe with some surprising ingredients that can even be finished halfway for a regular marinara by simply omitting the ingredients with a * next to them.

Pictured here, I used the new and amazing Kite Hill tortellini that I found in Whole Foods.


For the marinara

  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Bac’n Pieces or your favorite vegan bacon, small dice*
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 4 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 28 oz can crushed san marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1/2 C vodka*
  • 3 drops liquid smoke*
  • 6 rubbed basil leaves, plus 3 more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the cream

  • 1 C raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 15 mins
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast


*Omit if making marinara


  1. Heat olive oil in medium sized pot on stovetop
  2. Cut the onion into a small dice or mince, then add it to the hot oil in the pan. Lower the heat to medium, and stir occasionally.
  3. Then add your Bac’n to the pan, and allow them to sizzle while constantly stirring for about 45 seconds. If they start to change color before that point, move onto the next step. I’m aware that this is a weird ingredient, but trust me, it gives it that quintessential smoky vodka sauce flavor.
  4. Next, slice the garlic. If you want to you can just mince it instead, I just prefer it sliced because that’s how my grandmother made her sauce. Mincing it releases a spicer, more pungent taste. Add the garlic to the pan.
  5. Once the garlic turns a light golden brown (which happens very quickly), add your cans of tomatoes and liquid smoke. Give it a good stir.
  6. Add your red wine, vodka, oregano, salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for at least thirty minutes. Then, add the fresh rubbed basil (just rub it in between your hands like that gif of Birdman rolling a Play-Doh snake). After 30 minutes, taste it. If you can still taste the alcohol, it needs to simmer until all of the alcohol evaporates and you’re left with the essence of the wine and vodka. One time I didn’t simmer it long enough before using it, and it was like taking a shot of vodka.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, make your cashew cream by combining all of the ingredients in a high powered blender like a Vitamix, Ninja or Nutribullet. Add more soy milk as needed.
  8. I recommend allowing the sauce to sit in the fridge overnight for maximum flavor, but if you’re serving it right away, this is the point in which you’d start boiling your pasta.
  9. When the sauce is done simmering, slowly add the cashew cream until it becomes a medium-light shade of pink.
  10. Toss with your favorite pasta, and serve with fresh torn basil and vegan parmesan.

And that’s that. If you make this or any other recipes featured here, use #killertofublog on social media!

Author: Amanda Spinosa

Amanda Spinosa is a vegan illustrator, animal rights advocate and mother to two adopted dogs, Ludo and Sasha. She is born and raised in the Hudson Valley of New York where she spends much of her time hiking, foraging, experimenting with plant-based recipes and volunteering at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Amanda is also an avid gardener and grows her own food during the summer months.

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